The Australian government plans to crack down on unethical and illegal behavior by vocational education and training (VET) providers who exploit international students. Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor has announced measures to strengthen the integrity of the VET sector. The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will receive a $37.8 million boost and establish an integrity unit. This unit will use advanced technology to identify and stop providers engaged in wrongdoing. It will also collaborate with law enforcement agencies to conduct intense compliance checks on high-risk providers. O’Connor has introduced a confidential tip-off line to allow current and former students, staff, homestay hosts, and employers of international students to report fraud anonymously. ASQA will gain expanded powers to suspend, expel, or deregister providers. The aim is to protect all students from exploitation by unscrupulous operators. O’Connor expects more than a dozen but under a hundred “dodgy operators” to be shut down. The government is committed to weeding out non-genuine providers and ensuring the integrity of the entire sector. The measures announced are an important step in strengthening the integrity of the vocational education sector, according to Education Minister Jason Clare. The government’s move seeks to restore integrity to the international education and migration systems. The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) supports the integrity enhancements but cautions against making it harder for students to access private sector training, as 9 out of 10 students choose independent providers for their studies.

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